Report: Derby 0-0 Bolton
Wanderers secured a hard earned point with a 0-0 draw against Derby County at the IPro Stadium on Tuesday evening.
A game which saw very few clear cut chances for either side, the Whites withstood a tirade of attacks from the Rams to ensure that they returned to BL6 with a share of the spoils.
Dougie Freedman made two changes to the side which emerged victorious over Leeds on Saturday afternoon, with Alan Hutton and Andre Moritz coming into the starting line-up ahead of David Wheater and Joe Mason.
There was also a place amongst the substitutes for goalkeeper Arran Lee-Barrett, while Josh Vela was included in the matchday eighteen.
As the game got underway, it was clear to see that both sides were up for the fight with Craig Bryson proving himself a nuisance early on for the hosts while Jay Spearing saw his long range effort blocked and cleared away.
Having served a one-match ban in the Rams’ defeat to Millwall on Saturday, Chris Martin was involved in the thick of the action early on with the frontman narrowly failing to connect with a cross from the left flank.
Following a bright start to proceedings, Derby began to pepper the Bolton goal with pressure which included a tirade of corners that were dealt with admirably by the Whites’ defence.
The hosts looked set to break the deadlock in the 18th minute after a well-executed ball from Jamie Ward on the right hand side, but Adam Bogdan was out quickly to deny Martin from close range.
After withstanding a period of pressure from the Rams, Wanderers appeared to find a foothold in the game with Lukas Jutkiewicz causing problems for the home side in and order the penalty area.
No sooner had the Whites enjoyed a spell of possession however, Derby were back on the counter with Ward’s dangerous free-kick being parried away to safety by Bogdan with a number of home shirts lurking.
The iPro Stadium faithful clearly sensed a goal and were left calling for a penalty kick with half an hour gone as the ball appeared to hit Mark Davies on the arm, but referee Graham Scott was unmoved to the dismay of the County supporters.
Having notched in his last two outings, Moritz almost snatched the opening goal of the game in some style with 33 minutes on the clock as he unleashed from distance, but Lee Grant did well to deny him with a superb reflex save.
A thorn in Wanderers’ side throughout the game, Ward looked to have found the back of the net shortly before the break as he fired goalbound from a tight angle, but the winger’s effort skimmed inches wide of the upright with it seemingly destined for the top corner while Andre Wisdom flashed a shot just past the post on the stroke of half time.
Derby began the second period with similar vigour as they did the first, Ward’s lofted free-kick being headed narrowly over the crossbar inside the opening minutes of the half.
Ward again tried his luck from distance a matter of minutes later, but the Bolton keeper was equal to his vicious effort, parrying the ball about before Tim Ream scooped it away to safety.
Their dominance continued as the clock ran up to the hour mark, with Simon Dawkins’ run into the area and consequent cross somehow eluding the advancing Derby attack.
Wanderers did threaten on the counter attack as substitute Liam Trotter powered downfield before feeding Jutkiewicz, but the frontman failed to get any real power behind his effort which Lee Grant comfortably saved.
The introduction of Chung-Yong Lee with 26 minutes remaining almost had an instant impact as the Korean chased down a loose ball, but Grant was out quickly to punt the ball downfield and away from danger.
Bryson almost inadvertedly handed Wanderers the lead with 72 minutes gone as he attempted to clear his lines, but thankfully for the Derby man his header skimmed narrowly over the crossbar.
Neil Danns, a constant danger for the Whites all evening, ensured that the Derby goalkeeper was on his guard inside the final 15 minutes of the clash with a long range effort but his shot lacked the power needed to be any real threat.
With the clock running down, Chung-Yong Lee provided Jutkiewicz with a perfectly executed ball into the area, but the ball fell behind the striker meaning he was unable to anticipate the opportunity with Derby clearing away the danger.
Despite Wanderers having been forced deep into their own half for much of the second period, the visitors spurned a glorious opportunity with three minutes remaining as Jutkiewicz powered into the area before pulling the ball back for the advancing attack, but Grant somehow snatched the ball to safety.
With four minutes of added time indicated, the home side threw men forward in their numbers while Danns almost snatched the points with a shot which the Derby keeper initially spilled but the efforts were in vain as the game ended all square.